[EU] OPC: Ex post evaluation of the impact of the trade chapters of the EU’s Association Agreements with six EuroMed countries

Objective of the consultation:

The aim of this public consultation is to collect information, views and opinions on the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and relevance of the EU-Mediterranean Association Agreements’ trade chapters with Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. The results of the consultation serve as input for the evaluation of the impacts of these Agreements, a project jointly conducted by Ecorys, CASE and FEMISE on behalf of the European Commission. For more background information on the project please consult the following website. The consultation will be open for 12 weeks.

1. Were you aware of an FTA between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region prior to hearing about this evaluation?

Yes

2. To what extent do you believe that the FTAs have met the following objectives related to the bilateral relations between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region?

 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeNo opinion / do not know
The FTAs have promoted trade relations     X 
The FTAs have promoted fair competition    X 
The FTAs have expanded harmonious economic relations    X 
The FTAs have expanded harmonious social relations    X 
The FTAs have established the conditions necessary for the gradual liberalisation of trade in goods, services and capital    X 

3. Please provide an explanation of how the FTAs have led to this impact:

Trade is not zero-sum, it is an exchange from which consumers on both sides benefit hence why FTAs are so important. An increase in the supply of particular goods and/or services from abroad under FTAs boosts competition and thus leads to lower prices. On the other hand, trade protectionism gives an unfair advantage to domestic producers at the expense of consumers. FTAs should aim to create a fair and equitable environment in which domestic and foreign producers are encouraged to compete based on the value they have to offer to consumers. Additionally, FTAs tend to mitigate anti-foreign bias by building cooperation bridges between various nations. FTAs are about interstate cooperation, increased choice, and cheaper products.

4. To what extent do you believe the FTAs have met the following objectives related to regional cooperation?

 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeNo opinion / do not know
The FTAs have increased trade and cooperation within the Southern Mediterranean region  X   
The FTAs have increased trade and cooperation between the region and the EU and it Member States   X  

5. Please provide an explanation of how the FTAs have led to this impact:

Despite the number of regional trade agreements, intra-regional trade in the Southern Mediterranean region is still poorly developed. The EU, as the largest trade partner of the region, has played an important role in encouraging the creation of the Southern Mediterranean free trade area. However, it is crucial that the region itself first makes a choice in favour of building stronger regional ties and then acts upon it keeping in mind all its economic, political and cultural particularities.

6. To what extent are the FTAs between the EU and Southern Mediterranean region coherent with the following policies? (Click on the name of the policy for more information.)

 IncoherentPartially CoherentFully CoherentNo opinion / do not know
European Neighbourhood Policy  X 
Association Agreements  X 
Action Plans  X 
Partnership Priorities  X 
Current EU Trade policy  X 

70. What are the most positive aspects of the FTAs between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean region?

The fact that the number of EU imports from the Southern Mediterranean region has been continuously growing since 2016 is definitely one of the key successes. Additionally, the FTAs have clearly fostered cooperation and international understanding between regions.

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